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Water Res. 2006 Jul;40(12):2357-68. Epub 2006 Jun 14.

Low-pressure membrane (MF/UF) fouling associated with allochthonous versus autochthonous natural organic matter.

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University of Colorado, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Boulder, 80309, USA.


Natural organic matter (NOM) isolates/fractions; organic colloids, and hydrophobic (HPO), transphilic (TPI), and hydrophilic (HPI) fractions; isolated from a natural surface water as an allochthonous source, and in the form of algal organic matter (AOM) derived from blue green algae as an autochthonous source, were investigated in low-pressure membrane filtration. The most significant flux decline was caused by organic colloids, with an intermediate flux decline caused by AOM derived (isolated) from ground and sonicated blue green algae. 3D fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) analyses revealed that colloids and AOM contain protein-like substances, and FTIR analyses showed overlapping peaks associated with the peptide bonds in proteins and alcohols in polysaccharides originating from extra- and/or intra-cellular materials. HP-SEC results also support a high content of apparently macromolecular compounds in the colloid fraction. The presence of a divalent cation (Ca(2+)), hypothesized to enhance fouling by NOM acids by a reduction in molecular charge, showed little effect. Morphological analyses indicated that the surface topography of fouled UF membranes was elevated, presumably due to deposition of NOM on the membrane surface. The pores of MF membranes were reduced, suggesting pore blockage and/or constriction by NOM aggregates.

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